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“Our competitors’ digital strategies are so well put together, why can’t we be more like them?”

Sound familiar? It’s a near-direct quote that we’ve heard hundreds of times.

If there’s one consistent phenomenon we’ve noticed across every industry or size of business, it’s that we’re all convinced that everyone else has it figured out while we’re flailing like an inflatable tube man outside of a car dealership.

We try to use that experience to help people understand that none of us has it all figured out, but this week a study came out that puts a lot more weight behind our anecdotes.

Digital Adoption Rates Among SMBs

A recent survey by Ionos showed that less than half of small businesses in the US have an active, working website and email domain for their company name.

Fewer still meet the rest of the survey’s standards for digital adoption, including an online shop, virtual meetings, and online marketing and communication, but it’s not for lack of interest or awareness.

Why So Low?

75% of American companies surveyed said that they believe that digitization is important, but that something is standing in their way. When they rated the factors that are holding them back, they listed the following:

Chart showing the biggest barriers to SMB digitalization in the US
Source: Ionos Report

When we saw the gap in those numbers between the overwhelming acceptance of digital as essential, and the shockingly low adoption of even the most basic practices, it explained the belief that we all seem to have that we’re the ones lagging behind.

It also reinforced for us just how important our Digital Adoption consulting services are, but we’ll save the shameless plug for the bottom of the article.

So What?

First, if you’re reading this, it probably means that you’re in that top 50% of businesses who are operating with a working website and email, so give yourself a pat of the back.

However, this isn’t a suggestion that you can, or should, take your eye off the digital ball.

Instead, it’s obvious to pretty much all of us that digital is at the very core of how people do business today, and that digital adoption is an opportunity to better serve our customers. So these survey results should be a flashing light that’s pointing directly to where all of the opportunity is.

Your competitors do not have it all figured out. You absolutely can deliver a high quality digital customer experience that sets you apart. And you can do it without a massive budget or a team of expert staff.

It’s tempting to think that the big upsides from the digital revolution are in our past – that if we could only go back to the early days of SEO/Adwords/content marketing etc. that we’d really be able to leverage those channels, but those same opportunities exist today.

If we look at the data, we can see that there’s a fairly simple path to becoming one of the top 10% most digitally-enabled businesses among those surveyed:

    1. Have a working website that uses your business name
    2. Have a working email domain with the same business name
    3. Some form of online conversion/shop/booking
    4. Digital marketing & communications of any kind
    5. The ability to do business online (virtual meetings, digital contracts, etc.)

Once you have those checked off, then things get really exciting. And here’s where the plug comes in: Our Digital Adoption consulting looks at the whole business to diagnose and identify opportunities, then builds easy to follow implementation plans.

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If you’d like to learn more about what that could look like for your business, send a message to and let’s start a conversation.

Bonus – if you’re a Canadian business, 90% of the project’s costs could be eligible to be covered under the Canadian Digital Adoption Program.